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Malaysia - Expo Milano 2015

Malaysia at the Exhibition Expo Milano 2015
© victorillen
Architect(s) : Hijjas Architects + Planners

The theme of the Malaysia pavilion is "Towards a Sustainable Food Ecosystem". The theme emphasises Malaysia's transformation agenda towards sustainability while focusing on various efforts undertaken in key economic areas of the Economic Transformation Programme, particularly agriculture, the palm oil and rubber sectors, tourism and business services. An important theme showing the dynamic between economic progress and environmental preservation; and between biodiversity and commercial agriculture.

The pavilion covers 2047 square metres, and takes the form of four seeds. The curves of the design and the weaving patterns on the structure reflect the versatility and dynamism of the nation.

The architectural design incorporates ecological and sustainable functions in line with the Expo's sustainability theme. The exterior structure of the seeds is constructed of "glulam" or glued laminated timber, an innovative local sustainable structural timber. The choice of glulam, combined with the complex structural form of our pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 is a deliberate effort to showcase Malaysia's capabilities in both design and innovative materials. This method of construction is able to produce long spans, and also less costly on the environment compared to steel fabrication. In addition, the ramps and walkways surrounding the pavilion are made from recycled rice husk decking.

As the country's main resource, the forest plays an important role in the lives of all Malaysians. The use of a wide variety of rainforest seeds dates back hundreds of years, and to this day is prepared and served in countless recipes that natively and gastronomically reflect the diverse backgrounds of Malaysia's multi-ethnic diaspora.

Conceptually, the building seed form expresses the nation's food source from the seeds of the rainforest to celebrate the seeds of the rainforest and its rich biodiversity.
The formation of the four seeds takes us through a kaleidoscopic journey of Malaysia with each seed encompassing visitors with different experience and level of engagement at the same time drawing our attention to the symbiotic relationship that Malaysians have with the rainforest.
This seed is a metaphor for Malaysia's own economic transformation based primarily on raw materials and agriculture through export-oriented industrialisation. It is also driven by higher value-added industries and services.

The Malaysia Pavilion reflects a continuous journey of Malaysia to develop and mature into a nation that is underpinned by a system that drives the life cycle, promotes sustainability and responsible use and consumption of natural resources.


The Seeds of the Rainforest mark the beginning of the cycle of life in the rainforest. Its dispersal by animals, insects, water, wind and rain ensures that this humble seed generates and continues to build a vital ecosystem on which millions of people depend.

The Malaysia Pavilion, whose design is inspired by the Seeds of the Rainforest, offers a taste of the nation's efforts and achievements.

Like the forest itself, which is a home rich in biodiversity, the Malaysia Pavilion symbolises the diversity of Malaysia's cultural heritage, reflected through a web of multi-ethnic sites, sounds, tastes and flavours as a tribute to the nation's rich dynamism


Seed 1

"Our home - for the present and the future" (Malaysia's diversity)

"Our Home" describes a country where the balance between preservation of the environment, and the need for progress and modernity is placed in the heart and mind of the visitor from the outset.

Seed 2

"Haven of Biodiversity" (protect and preserve)

The importance of preserving Malaysia's tropical forests and rich biodiversity to ensure a sustainable ecosystem for future generations.

Seed 3

"Seeds of Change" (present and future)

Amplifies how the seeds of the rainforest have changed the economy of this nation, and the livelihoods of its people. The future of industries is fuelled by innovation. Forests and cultivated plantations provide the raw materials via R&D that has significantly powered the world. Global consumption is balanced with sustainable efforts by the country.

Seed 4

"Colours of Malaysia" (Music, Arts and Culture)

The true spirit of Malaysia, the fun side of Malaysia known through its food, Music, Culture and multi-ethnicity. There are cultural performances, traditional games, arts, demonstrations, musical performances and educational programmes.

Visitors can also sample a selection of Malaysian culinary delights in a dedicated area.